Galapagos Islands introduction

Bartolome island | Galapagos Islands introduction

Galapagos information is plentiful in guidebooks. The Galapagos Islands have become famous worldwide for their unique wildlife and hauntingly beautiful landscape. Nicknamed “The Enchanted Isles" by pirates who used to frequent their rocky shores in the 18th century, the Galapagos have been gaining popularity as an adventure-filled vacation spot since their opening to organized tourism in the mid 1960’s.

more details on Galapagos as a World Heritage SiteThe Galapagos was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. For full information of what this has involved, and details on the Unesco site, click the link alongside.

Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, the 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve that comprise the Galapagos have been called a unique "living museum and showcase of evolution". Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galapagos are a "melting pot" of marine species. Information on ongoing seismic and volcanic activity has suggested the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life – such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch – that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution following his visit in 1835.

The group of islands that make up the Galapagos are home to several species of fascinating fauna and flora, many of which cannot be found anywhere else on earth. Here you can spot a diversity of interesting and unique animals, the same wildlife that inspired Darwin to write his influential “On the Origin of Species” when he visited the islands in 1835. Having lived for thousands of years without the danger of predators, many of the animals in the Galapagos are unafraid of people and will often let visitors come an arms-length away from them. The bird life of Galapagos is rich and diversified; no matter which month you come, you are certain to see courting behavior or young chicks. Hundreds of dragon-like marine iguanas can be seen basking on rocks, and visitors frequently spot giant tortoises, the namesake of the islands.

Providing a backdrop against the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos is the striking volcanic landscapes. Hikes and tours up to the volcanoes are available to visitors as well as shorter hikes around flows and fascinating lava formations. Beautiful beaches around the islands are full of fish, coastal birds and seals give visitors the opportunity to swim or dive while enjoying the diverse wildlife and magnificent, pristine land.

Certain to delight wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike, the Galapagos Islands offer visitors an unforgettable, once in a lifetime vacation.